"Foundations: Necessary and Not Enough"
Perhaps you’ve run across Robert Fulghum’s classic All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. That title is quite the sentiment. It is a callback to the simpler things, a suggestion to not make life too complicated by being sure we remember the elementary things we learned so very long ago.
It is a nice sentiment, but the author of Hebrews seems not at all satisfied with that idea, at least as far as it might mean that some would settle into elementary things when it comes to our faith. Certainly the fundamental doctrines are important. We frequently recite many of them together as a congregation in our Affirmation of the Faith. Yet the author of Hebrews urges us to move beyond elementary teachings and be taken forward to maturity.
The metaphor the author uses of the foundation of a building is a powerful one. Foundations are vital for the construction of an edifice. If your foundation is insecure, the results can be tragic. We need solid foundations. Yet how ridiculous an architectural monstrosity we would construct if buildings were only foundations stacked on top of each other. No, the wise builder, having placed a firm foundation, builds the greater, more beautiful thing upon it. So it should be with our faith.
How deficient would the lessons learned in kindergarten be if we truly based all our actions in this real, grown-up world upon them? Yet how much worse if we abandoned them altogether! The words in Hebrews regarding those who abandon the foundational truths of who Jesus is are among the harshest in Scripture: “ . . . they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace” (Hebrews 6:6 NIV).
Heaven forbid we let go of the foundational truths we learned, even those that came to us in our kindergarten Sunday School class. They are called foundational truths for a reason.
Heaven forbid, too, we are tempted to be satisfied with the lighter, lower, lesser things of faith when God is calling us to the heavier, higher, holier things. Let us by God’s grace strive to build a deeper, richer, fuller, more beautiful faith upon that foundation we have been handed. For it is in that faith, with patience, God will allow us to inherit all He has promised us in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 6:1-12 (NIV):
1 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.